|The Marlins gave lefthander Andrew Miller three years and 220 innings to work out the kinks, but in that time he regressed badly and bottomed out with an 8.54 ERA in 2010. Out of options next season and due a raise from his $1.79 million salary, Miller represented a bad gamble for the cost-conscious Marlins, so they dealt him to the Red Sox, who can afford to take risks with pricey, stunted prospects. Boston sent Triple-A lefty reliever Dustin Richardson, who has two option years remaining, to Florida as compensation.
Perhaps the Red Sox feel emboldened to take a chance on Miller because new pitching coach Curt Young had success crafting some of the Athletics’ young lefties, like Gio Gonzalez and Dallas Braden, into successful pitchers. With Boston, Miller also will team with ex-North Carolina teammate and fellow 2006 first-round pick Daniel Bard.
The Marlins and Red Sox came together on a similar trade a year ago, when Florida traded arbitration-eligible outfielder Jeremy Hermida to Boston for a pair of low-ceiling lefties. Hunter Jones, one of those lefties, as well as Hermida both got released during the 2010 season.
|Dustin Richardson, lhp
Born: Jan. 9, 1984 in Newton, Kan.
Ht.: 6-6. Wt.: 220. Bats: L. Throws: L.
School: Texas Tech.
Career Transactions: Selected by Red Sox in fifth round of 2006 draft; signed June 7, 2006.
Richardson made three scoreless appearances for the Red Sox in 2009 and seemed poised to serve as the club’s second lefty out of the pen this season, but things didn’t work out that way. He didn’t make the big league club out of spring training and then did not resurface in Boston until mid-June. Since switching to the bullpen full-time at Double-A in ’09, Richardson has posted gaudy strikeout totals (a composite 11.6 per nine innings) and has been tough for opponents to hit (.186 average). Unfortunately, he’s also walked 5.6 per nine innings in that time, making him a tall, wild lefty, just like the pitcher he was traded for. Richardson sits in the low 90s and touches 94 mph while favoring a hard, low-80s slider to his fringy curveball and changeup. He’s been quite a bit more effective against righthanded batters in each of the past two seasons, and he held Triple-A righthanders to a .144/.294/.256 batting line in 2010.
|Red Sox Acquire|
|Andrew Miller, lhp
Born: May 21, 1985 in Gainesville, Fla..
Ht.: 6-7. Wt.: 210. Bats: L. Throws: L.
School: North Carolina.
Career Transactions: Selected by Tigers in first round (sixth overall) of 2006 draft; signed Aug. 8, 2006 … Traded by Tigers with OF Cameron Maybin, C Mike Rabelo and RHPs Eulogio de la Cruz, Dallas Trahern and Burke Badenhop to Marlins for 3B Miguel Cabrera and LHP Dontrelle Willis, Dec. 4, 2007.
Scouts agree that Miller still has potential, but his delivery simply does not allow him to throw strikes. They say he doesn’t extend through his delivery and, consequently, he lacks control and finish on his pitches. In three years with the Marlins, Miller ran up a 5.89 ERA in 41 starts and 17 relief outings. Poor control was the culprit as he walked 5.1 batters per nine innings in that time, and that rate rose steadily each season. Still, Miller is a tall, physical lefty with arm strength and a good breaking ball, and at 25 he’s still young for a southpaw reliever, which is his likely role with the Red Sox. He pitches at 86-92 mph with sink and will snap off the occasional power, mid-70s curveball that helped make him the sixth pick in the draft four years ago. The Red Sox cannot send him to the minors without exposing him to waivers.